As the years have gone on my heath has deteriorated some as was expected and, most importantly to this post, my mobility has worsened.
I have had a mobility scooter for some years that I use for in-the-town shopping, appointments or socially. I used to take walking sticks then, later, elbow crutches to help me walk when going further from home. These days, I have a manual self-propelled wheelchair I use if away from home as I really cannot walk far or for long.
Recently, I was 'off to the city' for a day trip and needed to use public transport (the bus). For the most of the day, all was well and I had a lot of considerate people help me on and of busses - both drivers and other passengers. I was truly grateful for the help. However, at the start of my journey I was twice refused entry to wheelchair accessible buses. The first time, the bus was fairly full but the wheelchair bay could have been made available if the youths standing in it had moved up the bus. I was calm and agreed with the driver to get the next bus. The next bus experience was terrible! The wheelchair bay was empty but a man and woman with a pushchair got on before me - the man said he would fold the pushchair. When I got on the bus the driver was no help at all - did not even put the accessibility ramp down. I went to go into the wheelchair bay and the woman said (verbatim) "I'm not moving for you." The man had gone to the back of the bus. The driver said something like 'Come on I have to go." I was embarrassed and given very 'dirty' looks from other passengers. I backed out of the bus and nearly fell as the ramp was not down. By then I was very angry.
The two buses I tried to get on were long distance - straight to the city I was going to. A third bus arrived and I knew it to be a local only bus that would get me to the bus station where I could get a bus to the city. The driver of this bus could not have been more sympathetic and helpful. He made sure I was safe getting on the bus, travelling and getting off - he even wheeled me off as the pavement was at an awkward angle / height for the bus access ramp.
I got to the city and had a great day with my mum. Ironically, the bus to the city that we got on was the second bus I had access trouble with. As we approached, a new driver got in the bus and he was helpful too.
I'm disabled. I firmly believe that, in general, I am no more or less special than any other person and should not be given any special privilege as such just because I am disabled. It is definitely true that I request no more than the rights or privileges commonly afforded others. However, I do think a bit of 'common' sense and courtesy goes a long way to keeping everyone happy and, to some degree, makes for a better world for us all. Use of a disabled bay on a bus may seem, to some, like an unfair privilege given to the wheelchair user. To the wheelchair user that cannot drive and has no car or other easy to use and readily available transport, that wheelchair bay is a real boon though - when it is available.
So there you go! After another wall of text (it's becoming habitual), I suppose the conclusion is that some folk are nice, others are not. We takes them as they come!
Interestingly, today my attention was drawn to this BBC article;
And this web article too;
I'm not holding my breath!